Brussels is continuing work on the revision of the current European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), although it admits some of the research work could be delayed amid the current coronavirus crisis.
Preparation of the impact assessment report that the European Commission must submit by May 2021 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions began a few months ago.
The Scientific Committees on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER), one of the groups involved in the project, is preparing an evidence report on the risks associated with the existing EU regulatory framework for vaping products in terms of nicotine concentration and limits.
The research conclusions should be delivered to the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG-SANTE) by October 2020, but officials in Brussels have admitted to ECigIntelligence that “delays may occur in view of COVID-19 limitations”.
Nevertheless, the Commission “is working towards the May 2021 deadline for the implementation report,” as laid down in article 28 of the existing TPD.
‘No major delays foreseen’
The Commission is assisted in all this process by the individual EU member states as well as external contractors who have been tasked “with collecting and analysing relevant available information”.
According to official sources, “no major delays are currently foreseen for tobacco control activities”.
The meetings of the various groups and subgroups in charge of tobacco and e-cigarette policy are continuing more or less as normal, although most under a revised format. A SCHEER scientific meeting on e-cigarettes on 19th March was turned into an “information webinar”.
ECigIntelligence has also learned that the EU notification system established in the latest version of the TPD had received 253,465 e-cigarette product notifications as of January 2020.
This is up by more than 25,000 notifications since June 2019, when the EU Common Entry Gate (EU-CEG) had registered 224,820 new notifications for vaping products from all member states.
What This Means: Despite the current difficult situation, it seems the EU public health authorities don’t want to fall behind with policies that were considered a top priority of the new Commission when it took office in late 2019.
The aim is to continue with all the plans that were already in the pipeline, including an important policy that is expected to define better regulation for e-cigarettes and include new products such as heated tobacco.
– David Palacios ECigIntelligence staff
Photo: Nathanaël G. Dürst